England in New Zealand 2012-13

Woakes makes bid for Bresnan role

ESPNcricinfo staff

February 2, 2013

Comments: 35 | Text size: A | A

Chris Woakes made useful lower-order runs, England v South Africa, 5th NatWest ODI, Trent Bridge, September, 5, 2012
Chris Woakes hopes to take advantage of Tim Bresnan's absence in New Zealand © AFP

Tim Bresnan has been given the elbow by England - quite literally - and that gives Chris Woakes the opportunity to make an impression in New Zealand. Bresnan's persistent elbow injury, seemingly not entirely addressed by an operation, has left an opening in the side for a bowler who can bat and Woakes is well placed to make an impression.

Woakes is hoping for an initial opportunity in two Twenty20 warm-up fixtures in Whangerei but his longer-term ambition is to be regarded as a convincing option at No. 7 in all three forms of the game, at a time when Bresnan has been sent back to Yorkshire amid comments from the chief selector, Geoff Miller, that he has lost a bit of his zip.

Woakes has not played in a T20 international since winning his third such cap against Sri Lanka in June 2011 but England's new limited-overs coach, Ashley Giles, is keenly aware of his progress with Warwickshire having previously been the director of cricket at Edgbaston.

"It's nice to have Gilo here," Woakes said. "I spent five years with him at Warwickshire. I probably wasn't expecting to be in all three squads at the start of the winter, but that's the way it is, and I'm obviously delighted."

With England hosting the Champions Trophy next summer, their ambition to win a first trophy in the 50-overs format has again been sharpened. The New Zealand itinerary, which comprises three matches in each of the three formats, offers Woakes an opportunity to press his claims in conditions that - although he does not sound convinced - will not be too dissimilar to those he would experience in England next summer.

Almost unnoticed, while England were winning a Test series in India, Woakes gained experience of New Zealand conditions in a brief spell with Wellington before Christmas. He stood out in T20 with runs and wickets in two separate fixtures against Central Districts.

"I came out here trying to get used to conditions before Christmas and get some cricket under my belt," he said. "I hope that'll stand me in good stead. The pitches here are quite bouncy and generally quite true, not so English-like in terms of seam movement."

As well as his one-day ambitions, Woakes knows that it would not take too much for him to make a Test debut in the three-match series, which concludes the tour.

"Test cricket is the pinnacle in my eyes, and every county cricketer wants to be there at some stage," he said. "For me to get a chance in that Test squad for the first time is fantastic. I feel like my first-class cricket has been really good over the last few years, and I hope I can take this opportunity with both hands.

"My bowling is probably my primary skill. But I feel my batting has improved over the last 12 months and is going really well. Fingers crossed, if that keeps happening, I'll be a genuine allrounder and equally strong in both suits."

Woakes' England colleague, Luke Wright, hurt his right hand during fielding and fitness drills in Whangarei on Saturday. He did not take part in batting practice but an England spokesperson said there was no need for a scan.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (February 5, 2013, 21:33 GMT)

Guys I think you're all essentially saying the same thing, in a roundabout kind of way. Somehow 1 good game out of every 5 seems to keep some players like KP in high, undropable status; players like Bell that are more accumulators get slated when they fail, and not congratulated enough when they do well. Bringing in Woakes instead of someone like Broad who has been off colour for ages (up until yesterday you might say!) in my opinion does not dent the team in any way at all. If the trial period fails, fine - re-group! But give him a decent run - not just 1 or 2 games.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (February 5, 2013, 18:34 GMT)

@JG There is a fine line between loyalty and showing faith in a player to pull out of a slump and refusal to accept that it is time for somone else to have a go. We both agree on several bowling examples. If a side is winning individual form is not such a problem; recently it has been an issue because we have actually lost a couple of series, something that hasn't happened for a while, so the vultures have circled. To stay on the topic of the thread, using tours like this to blood one or two new players makes sound common sense to me: don't patronise the opposition by selecting a deliberately weaker side, but do take the opportunity to find out about players like Woakes, Compton, Root, Bairstow, Harris, etc.

Posted by JG2704 on (February 5, 2013, 6:25 GMT)

@CricketingStargazer on (February 4, 2013, 21:11 GMT) re "Ian Bell does not perform in Tests you can't pick him claiming that there is no one else" - Problem is England selectors won't say there's no one else but they still persevere with out of form players and I'm not singling out Bell- there hav been bowlers too

Posted by HatsforBats on (February 4, 2013, 22:53 GMT)

@Meety, when in form I think Broad would absolutely be an automatic selection for England. I've no idea what's happened to his batting, he's had a string of injuries, and I certainly wouldn't have him anywhere near a captaincy role, but he was still taking wickets at a good rate last year and he's still young with heaps of talent. Bit of a muppet, but i'd pick him.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (February 4, 2013, 21:11 GMT)

@JG, I agree with you there. He had one chance in India, failed to make a score and was pensioned-off. He was unlucky in that Root had one chance and got it right brilliantly and has jumped ahead of all his rivals. I do rate Jonny B and, in a sense, England has an embarassment of riches right now with Prior, Bairstow, Buttler and Kieswetter all vieing for the gloves in the different formats. For a lot of players the struggles that he had against the Windies would have dented confidence, but he came back and did a superb job against South Africa in a losing cause. Incidentally, Nick Compton was an opener for most of his career: he only moved down the order when Somerset did not have an opening for an opener. Anyway, it's a matter of options: there are plenty of batting options right now and, as you say, if Ian Bell does not perform in Tests you can't pick him claiming that there is no one else. Woakes, Bairstow, Root, Compton all need to play in New Zealand and gain experience.

Posted by JG2704 on (February 4, 2013, 18:40 GMT)

@CricketingStargazer - I feel sorry for Jonny. I wonder if they were thinking of doing the unthinkable (and not recalling Bell after he went home after 1st test) and maybe JB's personal probs (family illness) were coming on back then? Probably not. If not I feel JB has had a bit of a raw deal. Jonny isn't an opener and while Nick is a number 3 he has opened and deserved his opportunity - anyone who averages near on 100 deserves a chance. Bell should have made way by now. Sure he did well vs WI but if any rookie comes in and plays like he did in the rest of the 2012 series he would not be afforded that run. I'm ok about affording underperformers a run in a winning side (like they did with Cook) but would say they need to drop these players when the team are suffering

Posted by Meety on (February 4, 2013, 11:27 GMT)

@HatsforBats on (February 03 2013, 03:17 AM GMT) - well said. The first time I saw him (Woakes), I thought he had champion written all over him. Although I disagree with your 2nd comment - Broad should NOT be considered an automatic choice (I don't think he is up to it). @JG2704 on (February 03 2013, 17:47 PM GMT) - agree, Woakes should be given opportunities in NZ. @landl47 on (February 04 2013, 05:02 AM GMT) - Bell's average of 46 in Tests should come with a few caveats. He has plenty of holes in his stats, that unless he corrects in the next year or two, he'll be a genuine flawed batsmen. As for ODIs - he has improved, he needed to as he WAS quite ordinary. He has looked good as an opener in ODIs.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (February 4, 2013, 10:53 GMT)

Chris Woakes averaged 48.3 with the bat and took 56 wickets @ 21.8 with the ball in only 11 matches in 2011. Looks convincing to me in combination with his 2012 results...

Posted by JG2704 on (February 4, 2013, 10:06 GMT)

@landl47 Obviously we don't want 2nd rate all rounders etc but is Woakes that?On last seasons 1st class form I'd say a resounding no. I still maintain that our best series victory in the last 30 years was the 2005 Ashes.What was the formation in that victory? Flintoff was our all rounder and had a magic series but I wonder what his first class stats were at the time? Would they have been better than Woakes? Battingwise our 6/7 were Flintoff/G Jones for that series and if we did 5/1/5 now it could be Prior/Woakes which I'd say would be a better batting combo. Could it be successful now - who knows and there is only one way to find out. Remember the 5/1/5 team of 2005 was dismantled because of S Jones' injury in the 4th test and not because it failed. Re Bell yes a decent career average but I'm going on last year's form. In India he scored a ton in the last test but was woeful in the other 2.Take away that ton and the WI series and he had a woeful 2012 in tests

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (February 4, 2013, 7:51 GMT)

I should have added that Jonny Bairstow did not make the XI for the 4th Test (Root was preferred) and *then* his other issues started.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (February 4, 2013, 6:26 GMT)

Errrrrrr, @landl, old chap. You are thinking of the ODIs. He was in India and replaced Ian Bell for the 2nd Test (http://www.espncricinfo.com/india-v-england-2012/engine/match/565807.html), having not made the starting XI for the 1st Test.

Posted by landl47 on (February 4, 2013, 5:02 GMT)

@ CricketingStargazer: just to be accurate, Root and Compton didn't get the nod ahead of Bairstow in India. He wasn't considered for the tour because of a family illness. Had he been able to be in the squad, I'm pretty sure Root would not have played. As it turns out, it wasn't a bad thing for England as Root excelled at everything he did.

Bairstow is in the ODI and test squads for NZ, although he's probably not in the first choice XI at this stage.

Just to conclude my comments to JG: somehow Bell's achievements are always minimised. His test average is 46.71, 5699 runs with 17 centuries in 83 tests. He scored vital centuries in his last innings in both tests and ODIs in India, but you're talking about 'overdoing the loyalty card' as though he never did anything. I'm not sure whether you saw the Cricinfo report after George Bailey's 125* yesterday. It pointed out that there is only one player who has scored more ODI runs than Bailey since last March. That player is Ian Bell.

Posted by landl47 on (February 4, 2013, 4:25 GMT)

@JG2704: 5-1-5 is great if one of the five really is an allrounder- someone who is worth his place in both disciplines or failing that, is worth his place in one and is a useful performer in the other. Playing guys who aren't test standard in either just because they can do both is something England used to do in the bad old days of the 1990s, and how did we get on then?

If Eng goes 6-1-4, is Woakes one of the best 4? I think not at present, and whether he can bat or not is irrelevant in that case. There are 6 batsmen plus Prior, definitely test class as a batsman, to make runs, so the 4 bowlers have to be those likely to get the 20 wickets needed. I'd put all of Anderson, Broad, Finn and Onions ahead of Woakes at the moment.

I'm a Woakes supporter, but I don't think he's ready just yet. His batting has come on so fast that I believe in another couple of years he will be a genuine #6 batsman and a fourth seamer. Then his competition will be Ben Stokes!

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (February 3, 2013, 18:10 GMT)

OK @JG, which is it to be? Of course, if Broad takes 20 wickets in the 3 Tests and averages 50 with the bat it will be the latter. I really wish though that he had received a winter off and been asked to play a series of CC games to demonstrate his form and fitness for the summer. The whole point is experience. Taking nothing away from New Zealand, the cricket will not be as intense as against South Africa or India, or even Australia, so you would like to see likely reserves being given a chance to gain experience and prove themselves, without weakening the XI too much. For that reason it might have been nice to see TR-J in the squad and make Woakes and TR-J bowl-off for a spot in the Test side and a chance to be 1st or 2nd reserve for the summer. Funny how Jonny B. is suddenly off the radar: he had a superb series v South Africa but, Root and Compton got the nod ahead of him in India and suddenly he is struggling to get back into contention.

Posted by JG2704 on (February 3, 2013, 17:48 GMT)

@HatsforBats on (February 03 12:02 ) Listen I'm a really big Broad fan. Love his passion etc but not so much that I think he should be picked purely on rep/past performances. People almost seem to think that by dropping a player that's the end of the road. Far from it. I'd prefer our selectors to be more ruthless at times which I believe would keep both team and squad players on their feet - team players knowing that some bad performances in losing games and they are vulnerable and squad players having more motivation , knowing that if they are performing and team players aren't they'll get their chance. If Broad is playing like he did pre SL then he's 1st choice , if he plays like he did since I believe Onions and Woakes are better choices.

@R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (February 03 2013, 14:33 PM GMT) My line up would be similar except I'd have Root or Jonny in for Bell. Also in spinning conditions I'd go for Monty. I think Briggs is more of a shorter formats specialist

Posted by JG2704 on (February 3, 2013, 17:47 GMT)

@SamuelH - re "There's a good amount of young talent around, but a lack of experience" - This is exactly why I believe Woakes should play in this NZ tour. I feel it's better that he comes in for such a tour rather than thrown in at the deep end in an Ashes series. I'm not saying Woakes could not cope with being thrown in at the deep end but to me this is a perfect opportunity to try him out.

@CS - Great minds think alike or fools seldom differ . I'm agreed with you re Broad. Another poster said the other day - when I said about resting Bell from the ODIs and someone like Hales or Wright coming in "What if they do better than Bell?" - like it would be a bad problem. Surely we want our best possible side on the pitch , not on paper.I know Bell has nothing to do with the bowling but to me looking at guys like Woakes in tests is the same as looking at Wright/Hales in ODIs.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (February 3, 2013, 15:58 GMT)

@SamuelH Good riposte, but how many of those would you put in the Test side, as opposed to the ODI team and expect them to do well? I certainly would remove Dernbach from the list of potential Test bowlers and would be sceptical of Meaker who seems to have a bigger reputation than list of results (how often do you see Surrey's attack sweep all before it?) TR-J, dead right. Harris, we'll see this season - he has a huge reputation that preceeds him and Reece Topley is one for maybe 2 seasons hence. I would add Ajmal Shazad to your list. Chris Tremlett, we'll see. He is no longer young and I really do wonder if the selectors would risk him again save maybe in one-off situations.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (February 3, 2013, 14:33 GMT)

I think for tests, I'd like to trial: Cook, Compton, Trott, Pietersen, Bell, Prior, Woakes, Swann, Anderson, Onions and Finn. In Asian / spin-friendly conditions, Monty and/or Briggs should always be considered. Root, Bairstow, Bresnan and Broad (if fit and in form) make a very strong bench and can be slotted in should there be injuries and/or long runs of poor form by the others.

Posted by SDHM on (February 3, 2013, 14:18 GMT)

@CricketingStargazer - just to continue my point, with Tremlett back from injury soon & Onions in the squad, there is also experienced cover. I don't think there isn't any depth, but I do think the selectors have been reluctant to use it for whatever reason. Took them forever to realise Finn should be in the side for example. Even now, the fact that Broad has walked back into the touring party for the Tests is a bit worrying - quite what he's done to regain a spot I don't know. Mitty - also think you make a good point about Woakes. I certainly think he has the talent to be a genuine all-rounder, but would he get in my side as one of the best 4 bowlers or best 7 batsmen? Wouldn't say so, but hope he gets the chance to prove me wrong in NZ.

Posted by SDHM on (February 3, 2013, 14:12 GMT)

@CricketingStargazer - depends what you mean by depth. There's a good amount of young talent around, but a lack of experience - the likes of Meaker, Woakes, Harris, Topley & Roland-Jones are all hugely exciting prospects but all lack experience at the top level which seems to throw the selectors. I'd argue the reason they lack that experience is because the selectors have persisted with the likes of Bresnan, Broad & Dernbach when out of form and, as JG says, overplayed the loyalty card in that respect - why on Earth didn't Meaker get a game or two in India, for example? I know one day bowling isn't his strong suit, but presumably he was there to gain international experience, so play him for God's sake!

Posted by HatsforBats on (February 3, 2013, 12:02 GMT)

@JG2704, I'm not sure about the injury status of Broad but surely your first pick bowling lineup is Anderson, Finn, Swann, Broad. I don't think picking a dedicated all-rounder as the third seamer is the right way to go, specifically, I don't think Woakes is good enough (as yet) to handle the first change role. Honestly, very few all-rounders have ever been good enough for that role. Everyone knows England have the quality to go 5-1-5 especially with Prior at 6 and a lower order of Woakes, Broad, Swann (for example).

Posted by NickeyT on (February 3, 2013, 11:24 GMT)

If England don't want to use experienced players (cook, bell, pietersen) for T20, I think they should go for this team : Hales Lumb Wright Morgan Root Buttler Patel Woakes Tredwell Broad Finn

That gives them 7 bowlers (including Wright, Patel & Root), and a very long batting depth(going up to #10).

What do you think ?

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (February 3, 2013, 11:08 GMT)

@JG Totally agree. Even if Broad were on song (and he is far from it), you would still want a pool of ideally eight quicks, any one of whom can play if necessary in case of injury and loss of form. Root and Compton have, as you say, had a good start, but neither can say that his place is nailed down... yet. The more players in the mix and the stronger the competition, the better. Right now I think that Patel, Morgan and Bresnan have shown that they should not be in the mix for the Test side. Like you, I would not have played Broad in New Zealand (ideal chance to blood Woakes properly). Right now I see far more strength in depth in the spinners than in the quicks, which is a little alarming.

Posted by JG2704 on (February 3, 2013, 10:00 GMT)

@landl47 on (February 03 2013, 06:45 AM GMT) I don't see there be a problem in accommodating Woakes. Root and Compton are not established yet and we are also presuming that Broad comes in rejuvenated and back to his best.. I presume they would want a 4 man (3 pacemen) attack and would want 1 of those to be considered an all rounder. So I presume they will go Jimmy with Finn or Onions and Woakes,Broad or Bres. As I said before I'd rather Broad didn't play in NZ and give Woakes the whole series and if he does well enough up to the 2 Bs to fight their way back. I'll always prefer 5/1/5 if we've got the quality to do that. And yes Bell is established as are Broad and Bres but should that mean he's a permanent fixture in the side (like Broad/Bres) if his form is bad? I thought Root looked more accomplished in 1 match vs Ind than Bell did (bar 1 inns) on the tour. Sometimes I think players are established because selectors overdo the loyalty card

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (February 3, 2013, 9:59 GMT)

@Mitty2 Interesting analysis, but I am not sure how much stats in the County Championship and Shield cricket are strictly comparable like that. The pitches and the conditions are completely different although, the level in the top division is comparable to Shield cricket. Woakes has always been regarded as mainly a bowler. Most of us, I suspect, have seen Watson as a batsman who can bowl. There is no doubt that, in English conditions, Woakes is very effective, hence my confidence that he will do well in New Zealand. With Bresnan struggling and Broad not on song for a while now I simply cannot see why, if you play your "4 best bowlers" Broad would not be in my top 4! That means looking at new options, hence Rikki Clarke has been recommisioned too. Unlike Clarke though, Woakes is an "80 wicket in a season" bowler. And he is quite capable of making his thousand runs: he averaged 72 with the bat (2x100) and 25 with the ball, despite only playing half a season in 2012.

Posted by landl47 on (February 3, 2013, 6:45 GMT)

I think Woakes will eventually establish himself in the test side, but at the moment the problem is who England would leave out. Compton deserves a run as opener, having taken part in two century, two fifty and a 48 partnerships in India. Cook, Trott, Pietersen and Bell are all established test players with averages over 45. Root has made an outstanding start to his international career- so whom does Woakes replace? I don't believe he is as good a bowler yet as Broad or Onions (assuming they are both fit) and although he is a better bat than either, in a four-man attack the best 4 bowlers have to be selected even if they don't know which end of the bat to hold- Monty showed that in India.

I agree with Mitty that every player must be worth their place as either batsman or bowler. If they are test class at both, they are part of a very select group. Woakes might be a tad short in both at the moment. However, he's still 23 and his chance should come in 3 or 4 years, so he has time.

Posted by HatsforBats on (February 3, 2013, 3:17 GMT)

I really liked the look of this lad and he's been impressive whenever I've seen him play. With a FC record that good at his age I'd be wrapping him in cotton wool, he certainly doesn't need to be playing all three formats.

Posted by Mitty2 on (February 3, 2013, 1:04 GMT)


With more emphasis on bowling for woakes and batting for Watson, albeit watson's stats are better, with a batting average of 44 and bowling average of 28, whilst woakes are 38/26.

I'd say with watson's general inability to perform well in either department with the exceptions of a few decent bags and two centuries, promotes the idea that if you're going to blood a youngster in the test arena, do it in one department and make him focus on that certain area. Woakes for instance, shouldn't be apart of a 5-1-5 setup, as that would be putting more pressure on the batsmen to perform collectively, and often harmfully, it rids the incentive of the bowlers to go for the wickets and build pressure, as they're competing amongst themselves to hold their spells, and often less wickets are taken because of the chop and change attack.

England should put woakes as the third seamer, so he knows his role and goals, and will try to perform it, without the extra pressure on his batting.

Posted by Mitty2 on (February 3, 2013, 0:55 GMT)

I've always hate the idea of persisting with all rounders, unless you are as blessed as kallis, but even king kallis, like all players should be, is first picked in a particular department (batting), and his speciality in the other department comes as a bonus. Obviously, for kallis specifically, it's more than just a bonus, with almost 300 wickets, but no other player in world cricket is even near his talents, so the specific ideology of choosing a player who is a certain to be worthy of his position in either batting and bowling, rings ever so loudly.

Australia's persistence with selecting Watson was liable, as he was picked as an all rounder, but isn't, and wasn't good enough with just two centuries. But he was useful, as a changeover bowerl, adding depth and reliability, but it was almost a 5-1-5 setup, and our batsmen werent good enough to prosper with just 5 specialists, and Watson wasn't our best 5th bowler.

The first class stats of woakes and Watson look similar, with more

Posted by whoster on (February 2, 2013, 21:28 GMT)

This would be a good time to blood Chris Woakes in the Test arena. He's still young, but has a lot of first-class experience under his belt. Anyone who averages close to 40 with the bat, and mid-20's with the ball in county cricket should be considered a potential Test all-rounder. Whether or not he becomes one is an entirely different story, of course. Genuine all-rounders are rare, and they're gold dust to any team - so give him a run and see if he's up to it. There's big question marks over Bresnan and Broad, and Onions must wonder what the point of being in the squad is after India. I'd like to see both Woakes and Onions in a 5-man attack with Anderson, Finn and Swann. It may be a bit of an experiment, but with respect to NZ, this would be the time to do it. Onions probably won't get picked because of his 'weak' batting - though he was good enough with the bat to have played starring roles in saving two consecutive Tests against a powerful SA attack in their own back yard.

Posted by SDHM on (February 2, 2013, 19:55 GMT)

Getting sick of this assumption - Woakes is NOT a bowler who bats a bit, in the Bresnan mould. He is a genuine all-rounder, and England should think of him as such. He gives England a chance to start thinking about fielding a five man attack again. Really hope he does perform - it looks finally as if Broad & Bresnan have had a kick up the backside; the fact that both of them were allowed to stay in the sides whilst under-performing (it has to be said, through as much fault of the medical staff's as their own) has been criminal. The selectors have acted as if there was no-one around to replace them when there's a crop of hugely exciting young seamers, to go with the proven class of someone like Onions (or Tremlett when fit, which is sadly seemingly rare). Hope Woakes gets a run and goes well - there is absolutely no point in taking him without playing him, like they did with Meaker in India. You have to start finding out about these youngsters!

Posted by JG2704 on (February 2, 2013, 19:37 GMT)

He says himself that his bowling is his primary skill but his batting was up there last season too. What can't be denied is that Woakes is the best batsman of our all rounders and if he reproduces his batting form this year he can (not that Eng will ever do this) be instumental in a 5 man bowling attack

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (February 2, 2013, 17:43 GMT)

There is only one way to find out if Woakes can cut it and that is by playing him. Give him a chance against New Zealand and see if he can hack it. The pitches there should suit his bowling and he knows the conditions. Success against New Zealand is no guarantee of success against Australia or South Africa, but everyone has to start somewhere. If he can turn into a useful third seamer and bat at 7 or 8 in Tests everyone will win. Tim Bresnan, I am afraid though, should not have been allowed to get this far. If there was doubt that the operation had really fixed his problem he should have been given the chance to get properly sorted out rather than making him play on. Granted that he was picked in a crisis where his "never on the losing side" record was needed to inject morale but there was no excuse to keep playing him when obviously unfit.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (February 2, 2013, 17:34 GMT)

Woakes deserves a decent run - not just one or two games and then tossed out to make room for say, a struggling Broad. I don't agree with the likes of Warne that players should play all three formats; there are so many great players out there that are 'horses for courses', and I don't see why they should try to adapt their natural game to accommodate everything.

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